Ten Federal Way businesses gutted in strip mall fire

KING 5

Ten businesses in a Federal Way strip mall were destroyed in a fire Sunday morning. 

The call came in around 4:20 a.m. after a person reported seeing smoke coming out of a coffee shop at a strip mall near The Commons. 

Firefighters from several districts quickly responded and crews spent several hours battling the flames.


 

The Skyway Fire Department tweeted it was a two-alarm commercial fire in the 31900 block of 21 Avenue South.

By 11 a.m., fire crews had put the fire out.

Ten shops were destroyed, including a Subway sandwich shop and a Mexican bakery Mi Tiendita Latina.

The smoke plumes were so thick, they were visible fromTacoma.

Fire crews had to fight the flames from the outside in a defensive position. The building did not have a sprinkler system, but the fire marshal said it was not required because of when the building was built.

"It was built in 1979," said Gordon Goodsell of South King Fire & Rescue. "A lot of buildings built in that era didn’t have a sprinkler system. A building built today would."

Our KING 5 crew on the scene said firefighters initially had issues putting out the flames because of a gas line. We covered the event live on Facebook and talked with a witness via phone. Misty Flavel-Wolske says the smoke was so thick that it bothered her in her home. 

One firefighter sustained minor injuries. A fire official on scene reported it was a minor physical issue that did not require any medical transportation.

Customers and workers streamed to the site Sunday, including workers like Celica Rodriguez. She worked at the Mexican bakery Mi Tiendita Latina II.

"Broken," she said through tears. "It’s my second home. I was here six days a week. A lot of customers... Everybody’s family."

Due to the heat danger, fire crews were putting out remaining hot spots Sunday. They'll return Monday to assess the damage and begin their fire investigation.

Drivers were being advised to avoid the area.

KING 5's Liza Javier, Michelle Li and Ryan Takeo contributed to this report.


 

© 2017 KING-TV


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